I’m muddling along on the old computer while my Other Half builds me a new one, and expecting any second for it to go up in smoke with a very loud bang. So I’m going to have to keep this shorter than I’d like!
Last weekend I went along to the inaugural Crime Writing Weekend, held at the Old Fire Station in Carlisle, the UK’s second most northerly city (after Newcastle upon Tyne, but only by a mile or two!).
The venue was newly opened, still smelling faintly of paint, and very attractive with decent studio spaces, a larger hall for the talks, and a bistro/bar/coffee shop in the main foyer which did very nice food.
The talks were informative, with an impressive range of crime authors, most of whom had links to the area of northern England/Scottish borders in some way or another. ‘Northern Noir’, ‘Cumbria: Cosy or Criminal?’, and ‘Tartan Noir’ were just some of the many subjects tackled by panels of between four and six authors including Ann Cleeves of ‘Vera’ and ‘Shetland’ fame, Martin Edwards who pens the Lake District series of crime novels, Graham Smith who bases his books in the Lake District, and many more. Other subjects included forensics and Sherlock Holmes, plus conversations with well-known authors including Stuart MacBride and Allan Guthrie.
In the end I couldn’t stay for the whole weekend but managed four sessions on the Friday, a stop-over in a city centre hotel, dinner with three of my writing friends, and the book launch for Mike Craven’s debut crime novel ‘Born in a Burial Gown’ on the Saturday morning. This was probably the best-attended and (no disrespect to the other sessions) most entertaining of the lot. Mike is a good and amusing speaker and the quick-fire questions from host Graham Smith kept us all chuckling for well over an hour.
If this is what Carlisle can achieve in their very first year, I’m impressed. I’m also sad to see the words ‘may be back next year’ on their website. If they do repeat the exercise, I’ll almost certainly be back for more.